Two steps forward, thirteen new questions

It’s a two week milestone today – two weeks from my bilateral mastectomy for those of you new to the story. Seven months from the mammogram that changed the move to Dubai into a stay and fight … and a week from the cancer free report card.

Today I did 15 things. OK, maybe it was 10 or maybe it was 18, but it was a lot – some seemingly incongruous with normal life (aka buying boobs at Nordstrom’s with my Mom) and some totally normal (grabbing breakfast on the run) and some totally normal but in this new normal somehow special (driving around the block by myself). But the important thing is that it was a list – a big list – and it all happened today. There was a time not that long ago where I dared myself to do one thing a day. To make one extra phone call, to write a blog post, to do just one thing outside of the pure process of living and healing and surviving. How fast things can change.

The oddities start piling up at this stage in the game as well – I am healthy looking and so most people I meet will no doubt believe I purposely chose this haircut, that I look this way physically. Oh how I wish I could tell them.

I have conversations I never thought I would have – just tonight, with my Mom and my husband we had a conversation about when I should put my boobs on in the morning. At Nordstrom’s today, I got my new “forms” – I have a pair for regular use (that sit inside of pockets sewn into my bras) and a swim pair (lighter weight, and able to withstand chlorine – for the Disney cruise and the last few days of summer). The swim forms were a splurge – can you believe that’s what I now call a splurge? But a girls gotta have girls on a cruise.

We showed off my forms – Davis, my Mom, the nanny – they are fascinating (ask if you want to peek). The amount of engineering – lifelike, yet clearly imitation. With wicking components, multiple angles, and yes, even a nipple. They are not real, but they are darn close. In fact, by the end of the day my back hurt – was it from the new weight adjustment?

Anyhow, back to this conversation -about when I need to put on my boobs – and I’m curious about other Moms out there. Clearly, I am not a sight for preschool eyes. unclothed. It’s not like I was parading around naked before, but occasionally Emmy would dress me. Now I have a reluctance to even get out of bed when she’s around in the morning – and she always is – hugging me, loving me. In this totally odd conversation, we decided that as long as no one sees me without my shirt on we should be OK. It’s only six months.

Those of you who think I am brave consider this – each day I grow stronger. I think of putting on my bathrobe each night after these glorious showers and the effort it takes and how it gets easier each day. I think of men and women for whom things get harder each day, and yet they keep pushing ahead. I am reading about WWII and am thinking about the sacrifices so many made for us – for our lives – and how people still do. I think that is bravery. I am just dealing with the hand I was dealt.

In the motherhood column, we are working hard on the settling in of routines – Carter cried when I dropped him off today great big gulping blue eyes brimming. His teacher emailed that within minutes he was fine. Henry is pleased as punch with his teacher’s record card system – each good day we put the card in a jar on the table. What he wanted most for his birthday was unveiled today – a rolling office chair for his room with up and down. They spent two hours putting it together and testing it out. I got it at Costco for $60 and it’s red vinyl and he thinks it’s manna from heaven. Next year he might ask for a cubicle. Emmy drew a diagram of the chair with actual anatomical detail and arrows indicating all its features.

I stand in wonder of my children, of our journey, but most of all of our help. I sit in jammies donated by my friend Sara (they are just TOO stinking cute I hear her say. We enjoyed a meal brought by a Doss family, and accepted a bottle of wine from our new neighbors. I look at my new earrings and think of my friend Jessica, my card today in the mail and think of my sister-in-law.

What you don’t know is that with each act you have given me strength. I will pass it along. Maybe tomorrow – I probably have at least 16 things I can do.


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2 responses to “Two steps forward, thirteen new questions

  1. Congratulations on being cancer free! I stumbled upon your blog and was so encouraged. I have one more chemo to go and will face my double mastectomy in October. I am ready to get my life back!

  2. Lauren
    You don’t know me but I followed you and your life for many years now – My name is Patricia and I was your fathers assistant and engineer for many years at Butler.
    You are an insperation to many folks – this one brought tears to my eyes as I sit here at my desk in a historical old building…just wanted to let you know your thoughts and words are more about how to live life and love than anything else…

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